Some wars are older than any of us…

In a camera phone clip posted on social media [Telegraph Оперативний ЗСУ] Saturday at least four Ukrainian soldiers wait in a muddy trench for the enemy to attack or to receive new orders.
[click sound icon lower right and also go to full screen].

The adage ‘war is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror’, is said to date from the First World War and its trench warfare.

Could be the most important planned collision – ever!


That last moment before impact

This coming Monday, NASA will broadcast its first attempt to modify the orbit of an asteroid, a capability that will be essential if we detect an asteroid that poses a threat of colliding with Earth. The planetary defense effort is focused on a craft called DART, for Double Asteroid Redirection Test, which will target a small asteroid called Dimorphos that orbits the larger 65803 Didymos, forming a binary system. If all goes according to plan, DART will direct itself to a head-on collision that slows Dimorphos, altering its orbit around Didymos…

…The planned collision will also be broadcast live on NASA’s YouTube channels. While we’ll know immediately whether the collision occurred as planned, it may take several months before we’re certain that Dimorphos’ orbit was successfully modified…

During its final approach to Didymos, DART will be distant enough that round-trip transmissions will take over a minute. As such, the final approach and targeting of the asteroid will be handled by an on-board navigation system called SMART Nav (Small-body Maneuvering Autonomous Real Time Navigation)…

As described by Evan Smith, DART’s deputy mission system engineer, the system will shift over to on-board navigation at about four hours before impact, and the SMART Nav will track the larger Didymos and use that for navigation until about 50 minutes before collision, or about a half-hour after it can be resolved. At 2.5 minutes prior to the collision, the ion engine will be shut off, and DART will coast into a collision at about 6 kilometers a second.

And then, if everything goes well, the transmissions will stop.

RTFA for all the geek details about the mission. Thoughts to be examined, resolved after the mission. Whatever time the Big Bang happens, I plan to be watching. Even though there is a small companion craft accompanying DART that will record the final encounter from (what we hope is) a safe distance. Slo-mo replays and all.

NASCAR on fire!

Kevin Harvick’s fire-related DNF at Darlington during Sunday night’s Cookout Southern 500 marked the fifth time in recent months that a cockpit fire has impacted a NASCAR Cup Series race.

There have been no injuries, but drivers are increasingly angry and frustrated at the apparent lack of attention by NASCAR and its safety teams.

In the latest incidents, the Ford Mustangs of Harvick and backmarker J.J. Yeley caught fire during the 500-miler. Harvick’s fire was more serious because as a Playoff contender, everything he does is magnified. NBC-TV concentrated on his No. 4 Mustang as it made several fiery laps while green-flag pit stops cycled around. As the fire began to spread, he stopped on the apron and bailed out as safety crews arrived.

“What a disaster without a cause,” he told reporters later. “We didn’t touch the wall. We haven’t touched a car and here we are in the pits with a burning car…

The drivers are concerned for their safety. NASCAR doesn’t seem to be concerned about anything more than how their TV time gets featured on the news,

Raindrops fall on a barely damp track…everyone is flat out on slick tires!

Over the past few years, NASCAR has developed kind of a strange habit. It has become increasingly comfortable waiting to throw a caution for dangerously wet conditions, leading to wrecks that could be attributed entirely to the wet surface at Texas Motor Speedway in 2020, Circuit of the Americas in 2021, and, most notably, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2021. Despite all this, NASCAR chose to keep a flat-out pack race at Daytona going as rain approached with less than 30 laps in today’s race. When the field hit a damp track, the predictable happened.